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In these end-times, unless Christians are baptized by the Holy Spirit, they will suffer defeat. If every one of us here is baptized by the Holy Spirit, it won't be long before the whole world turns to Christ. All China would turn to Christ. Therefore our subject today is very important. May the Lord work by His Holy Spirit.
Vs 10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might." Paul says, "I have a final word to say." This is most important. That we should trust in the Lord's mighty power, not to trust in man. For a man can die, but the mighty power of the Lord will make us strong. It's a pity to see so many Christians weak like grass, being blown east or west by the wind. Why? For no other reason than that they have not been baptized by the Spirit.
Vs 11 "Put on the whole armor of God, that we may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil." What is this armor? It's the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Every Christian should have this baptism.
Vs 12 "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." This verse says Satan surrounds us on every side. Without putting on the whole armor, we know we will be defeated. Our enemy is not of flesh and blood. Now, although many enemies on every side surround us, we are more than conquerors with mighty power of God.
Vs 13 "Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Who prepares this armor for us? As it is God's our Lord Jesus Christ prepares it. He told the disciples not to depart from Jerusalem but wait for the filling of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit then is our whole armor. Relying on the Spirit we can claim three victories --- 1) against our enemy, 2) in our work, 3) in our firm stand. Many have fallen after revival, being taken by Satan. Why? Because they have not put on the whole armor. They have not been baptized by the Holy Spirit. This armor has seven pieces.
Vs 14 "Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness." This armor has seven precious pieces as follows:
1) Truth for girdle.
2) Righteousness for breastplate.
3) Gospel of peace for shoes.
4) Faith for shield.
5) Salvation for helmet.
6) Word of God for sword.
7) Praying with Holy Spirit for machine gun.
These seven pieces of armor may be summed up as the baptism of the Holy Spirit:
1) Having the Holy Spirit, we have truth. (Jn. 16: l 3) --- girdle
2) Having the Holy Spirit, we have righteousness. (Lk. 5:25) --- breastplate
3) Having the Holy Spirit, we have peace (Jn. 14:26, 27)--- shoes
4) Having the Holy Spirit, we have faith (I Cor. 12:9) --- shield
5) Having the Holy Spirit, we have salvation Qn. 16:8) --- helmet
6) Having the Holy Spirit, we have the Word of God. (Rom. 5: 5) --- sword
7) Having the Holy Spirit, we have prayer. (Rom. 8:26. 37) --- machine gun
In one word, if we have the Holy Spirit we have our armor. A Christian baptized with the Holy Spirit is like burning coal which can burn the devil as paper. When paper meets fire it is reduced to ashes.
Since the Holy Spirit is so important we must ask how then can we receive the Holy Spirit? This leads us to the secret of receiving the Holy Spirit.
Acts 1:8 "But you shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and you shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth." When the Holy Spirit decends on us, it is like a napkin wrapping a book. The Holy Spirit surrounds us. Having the Holy Spirit we have power to witness. Many have no power to witness or to preach, no power to read the Bible or to pray. They doubt the saving grace. The seven pieces of armor mentioned above have been snatched away by Satan. Why? Because we have been beaten half dead by the Devil. Why beaten half dead by the Devil? Because we have not the Holy Spirit. Many tell me, "My husband, my children have been snatched away by the devils of gambling, smoking, wine, women, alcohol. They are far away from Christ. There is not the link-up. They don't attend Church. They don't believe the Word. They have no testimony. They dare not join the preaching band. Alas! Why? They have not been baptized by the Spirit.
Acts 2:43-47. "And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. And all that believed were together, and had all things common: And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, Praising God, and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved." These verses describe eight manifestations by those baptized by the Holy Spirit.
1) Apostolic signs, that brought fear on the people.
2) Wonders --- which the Holy Spirit did through the apostles.
4) Love for one another.
5) Rejoicing in prayer and Bible study.
6) Praising God in every circumstance, good or bad.
8) Work of saving souls everyday.
These 8 items are manifestations of the filling of the Holy Spirit. But what is the secret of receiving the Holy Spirit? Please read.
Acts 1:14. "These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren." The secret consists of four steps.
1) Sameness of heart
2) Unity of will
3) Persevering prayer
4) Fervent prayer
Let us take four children dressed in black, representing four attending a prayer meeting. Now using white chalk writes on the chest of each black shirt: pride, theft, lying, scolding to represent the four as not having "sameness of heart. Then write each person's own surname showing no "unity of will". As shown above, where is accord to be found? We must therefore get rid of these hindrances and put the Lord as King over them. Let us do away with the old-self before the Lord can be king in our heart. If the Lord is in our heart, then we can all be one. When a person is seeking the Spirit's filling, he must first die to self. and be holy! In brief we can use two things to illustrate
1) Fan the stove till it burns red hot. This illustrates holding a prayer meeting to seek the Spirit's filling. When we leave off fanning, the red charcoal begins to subside to grey. This, shows when we do not witness we are not filled with the Spirit.
2) Can the Holy Spirit fill one's heart that harbours a stone? For this heart to be filled with the Holy Spirit, we must get rid of the stone before the Holy Spirit can reign within. Friends, Have you received the Spirit? May you seek Him today!